Posted 2 May, 2017
Scottish Rowing is delighted to announce today that Lee Boucher has been appointed to the new and exciting role of Head of Performance Pathway.
Boucher has been tasked with developing a sustainable performance programme which will aim to support more home-based Scottish rowers progressing through Great Britain’s junior and under 23 teams and on to GB Rowing Team senior squads.
A lifelong rower, coach and team manager, Boucher is a popular and instantly recognisable face of the Scottish Rowing scene having held the organisation’s voluntary High Performance Co-Ordinator post for much of the past decade.
“I’ve been involved in rowing all my life so to take my passion for the sport forward as a career is extremely exciting for me,” said Boucher, originally from Belfast and Edinburgh-based since 2001, who begins the role with immediate effect.
“I am delighted to be joining the Scottish Rowing staff team in this new role and I can’t wait to get started.”
“More Scottish rowers, developed in Scotland, competing for Great Britain at the Olympics and Paralympics” is both vision and mission for Boucher, the man behind an unprecedented upward trajectory of year-on-year best-ever performances by Scots on the world stage over the past decade.
Recognising the correlation between success at under 23 level and progression to Great Britain senior teams, his major focus in recent years has been progressing university rowing in Scotland.
The resulting talent pipeline, particularly flowing from Edinburgh University Boat Club, has seen the number of home based Scots in Great Britain world championship teams grow from just one a decade ago to eight last summer.
The challenge now is to ensure that the Scottish performance programme stays ahead of the competition by continuing to innovate. Amongst other things, Boucher would like to introduce an inclusive junior development programme to support more young athletes from a wider range of clubs and schools. He also sees an opportunity for a Para-Rowing performance development programme in Scotland.
There is undoubtedly much to be done. But, as the former Head of Performance at Tennis Scotland, where he led a comprehensive review of the governing body’s investment in performance to shape a new strategy, Boucher feels he is on familiar ground.
“Having put in place new ways of working in tennis that focused on athlete development at a local, regional and national level, I believe there is scope to further develop in these same areas at Scottish Rowing,” explained Boucher, who recently negotiated the return to Scotland of the British Rowing World Class Start programme.
“We need clear, sustainable pathways in place that allow more Scottish athletes to reach their potential.
“And we need to make sure everyone fully understands the requirements to get to the next rung on the ladder.”
This new, full-time role, funded by sportscotland, means Boucher will throw all his energy into ensuring greater numbers of Scottish rowers can reach their potential.
And he feels optimistic about the outcome: “There has never been a better time to be an aspiring international rower whilst living and training in Scotland and I look forward to working with our athletes, coaches, volunteers and key partners to continue to build and develop a sustainable performance pathway for our sport.”
Welcoming Boucher to the team, Scottish Rowing’s Chief Operating Officer, Amanda Cobb, said: “I am delighted that, following a competitive recruitment process, we have filled this critical position of Head of Performance Pathway with someone of Lee’s experience and knowledge.
“Lee has been the driving force behind the creation of the pipeline of exciting talent coming through in Scotland and I am thrilled that he is now in post full-time leading the next stage of the programme.
“I’m sure that everybody involved in Scottish Rowing will join me in welcoming him to the staff team.”
“I wish Lee well in this important new role,” said British Rowing’s Performance Director Sir David Tanner. “The GB Rowing Team has benefitted from a number of talented Scottish rowers in its recent international success and I look forward to working with Lee to continue this great relationship in the run up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
Said Catriona Semple, High Performance Manager, sportscotland institute of sport: “I am delighted that Lee has been successfully appointed to this crucial performance role with Scottish Rowing.
“Lee is no stranger to the Scottish Rowing team having spent the past decade volunteering and helping to shape the emerging performance infrastructure that is developing successfully in Scotland.
“His work to develop crucial partnerships with sportscotland, British Rowing and the university sector in Scotland has created essential performance coaching positions within existing boat clubs which has in turn influenced the development of numerous Scottish and British rowers to world level.
“Scotland has more home-based athletes gaining selection to the GB Rowing Team than ever before I have no doubt Lee will continue to lead this sport forward to increase the number of Scots representing Great Britain at Olympic and Paralympic levels over the coming years.”
To find out more read our interview with Lee here.